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Issue 3, 2013
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Giant gemini surfactants based on polystyrene–hydrophilic polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane shape amphiphiles: sequential “click” chemistry and solution self-assembly

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Abstract

This paper reports our recent investigations in the synthesis, characterization, and solution self-assembly of giant gemini surfactants consisting of two hydrophilic carboxylic acid-functionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (APOSS) heads and two hydrophobic polystyrene (PS) tails covalently linked via a rigid spacer (p-phenylene or biphenylene) (PS–(APOSS)2PS). The sequential “click” approach was employed in the synthesis, which involved thiol–ene mono-functionalization of vinyl-functionalized POSS, Cu(I)-catalyzed Huisgen [3 + 2] azide–alkyne cycloadditions for “grafting” polymer tails onto the POSS cages, and subsequent thiol–ene “click” surface functionalization. The study of their self-assembly in solution revealed a morphological transition from vesicles to wormlike cylinders and further to spheres as the degree of ionization of the carboxylic acid groups on POSS heads increases. It was found that the PS tails are generally less stretched in the micellar cores of these giant gemini surfactants than those of the corresponding single-tailed (APOSS–PS) giant surfactant. It was further observed that the PS tail conformations in the micelles were also affected by the length of the rigid spacers where the one with longer spacer exhibits even more stretched PS tail conformation. Both findings could be explained by the topological constraint imposed by the short rigid spacer in PS–(APOSS)2PS gemini surfactants. This constraint effectively increases the local charge density and leads to an anisotropic head shape that requires a proper re-distribution of the APOSS heads on the micellar surface to minimize the total electrostatic repulsive free energy. The study expands the scope of giant molecular shape amphiphiles and has general implications in the basic physical principles underlying their solution self-assembly behaviors.

Graphical abstract: Giant gemini surfactants based on polystyrene–hydrophilic polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane shape amphiphiles: sequential “click” chemistry and solution self-assembly

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Submitted
22 Oct 2012
Accepted
11 Jan 2013
First published
25 Jan 2013

Chem. Sci., 2013,4, 1345-1352
Article type
Edge Article

Giant gemini surfactants based on polystyrene–hydrophilic polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane shape amphiphiles: sequential “click” chemistry and solution self-assembly

Z. Wang, Y. Li, X. Dong, X. Yu, K. Guo, H. Su, K. Yue, C. Wesdemiotis, S. Z. D. Cheng and W. Zhang, Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 1345
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC22297G

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